Whether it’s over the river and through the woods or two delays and a layover in Denver, chances are you’re going to be traveling somewhere this holiday season.  Screw that.

Next to teaching seventh grade algebra, holiday travel is probably one of the most stressful and least rewarding activities there is.  Hours of driving or sitting in an airport are alleviated only by hours of headaches and a set of bloody fingers from a 36-hour forced death march of bridge at grandma’s nursing home.

Besides the general lack of exciting destinations (if you’re part of a “let’s go to Hawaii for Christmas Family,” you can stop at hell on your way back) traveling at Christmas is near suicide on its own.  Whether it’s due to inclement weather or alcohol-induced donut-whipping on the interstate, chances are you’re probably getting into a wreck or coma next week.  And if it makes you feel any worse, some law enforcement officials (like the Georgia State Patrol) are actually providing an over-under of fatalities for your own amusement.  Predicted holiday travel deaths in Georgia are set at 19, people.  Place your bets.

Of course, for some students the worst is behind them.  Trekking home after finals can take up the bulk of stressful travel and could easily drive anyone to the edge. So, for your sadistic pleasure or suicidal preoccupation, I documented my 18 ½ hour shuffle across America from Vegas to Omaha, Neb.  Fueled by Starbucks and bagels, I survived to tell the tale…unfortunately.

Dec. 12-13

8:40 p.m. (PST) – Departing Vegas on I-15 North.

9:38 p.m.  – First yawn.  Not a good sign.

9:58 p.m. (MST) – New state – Arizona.

11:15 p.m.After listening to my iPod for a few hours, I’ve come to the horrifying realization that it’s identical to one owned by any 15-year-old high school girl who loves Cameron Crowe movies.  Note to self: Obtain Tool’s entire discography ASAP.

11:19 p.m.New state – Utah.  Whoopee.

1:00 a.m.The world has literally fallen away from me as I’ve merged onto to I-70 East towards Denver.  I’m convinced that Mars is a larger hub of activity than southern Utah. 

2:43 a.m. iPod has redeemed itself with its sick sense of humor.  “Those Sweet Words” by Norah Jones immediately followed by “Date Rape” by Sublime. Sweet irony.

4:22 a.m. – New state – Colorado.  Good riddance Utah, the Mormons can have you.

5:04 a.m. – A Halliburton pickup truck just passed me.  Thoughts of a Mad Max-esque road battle crossed my mind.  But alas, I removed the gun turret before the trip and there are many miles yet to drive.

9:30 a.m.After nearly 12 hours of driving I’ve decided that long-range bomber pilots have nothing on me.  They get speed and diapers.  I get a car without functioning cruise control.  Pansies.

11:24 a.m. – New state – Nebraska.  I would like to thank Colorado for not being Utah.  That’s really all you have to do come out ahead in the road trip game.

11:51 a.m. – Nebraska also scores big in the road trip game by being completely devoid of any highway patrol in its western half.  Of course, it’s also completely devoid of everything else…except cows.  Note to self: 2000 Honda CR-V will begin to shake violently at 97 mph.

2:24 p.m. (CST) – It’s official, I’m in the Midwest again.  Just spotted:  random pack of teenagers just off the interstate shooting guns for the hell of it.  Spotted immediately afterward:  a billboard for a phone-in bible radio program.  People, don’t forget that the Bible belt also doubles as a gun holster.

3:10 p.m.Ass is numb.

5:07 p.m.Destination.  Time for voluntary eternal sleep.  Or a nap.